I have just come back from the river after spending a very fine afternoon fishing with Paul Reddish. Paul is excellent company and is a very accomplished fly fisherman. Today we were accompanied by Paul´s wife Fiona and her sister Shona who is over from Australia.

I first met Paul and Fiona last November and we spent an evening drinking beer with a Martin who is a fly fishing guide based in the UK but who also guides on some of the big Spanish reservoirs. He is actually in Extremadura at the moment putting clients in touch with barbel that come up for dry flies. Paul is a very interesting guy to talk to. He told me back in November that he has extensive experience in wildlife film making with the BBC and is a long time friend and colleague of David Attenborough who is one of my heroes.

Today we met up upstream of the iron bridge at Estación de Cártama and caught a few barbel in a shallow run leading into a broad stretch of river which is very popular with the locals who fire up barbecues in the recreation area on the other side of a rough track running along the river.

After a little while we broke down the fly rods and ventured in convoy to another site a few kilometres downstream. There is a nice glide here where, if the mood takes them, small pods of barbel take up station and feed on flies and hatching insects on the surface and they can be taken on dry flies.

As it happens the barbel were not really interested in dries today but we  persisted with nymphs and the fish responded very well. Paul is a very good fisherman and had no trouble getting to grips with the river´s lovely gypsy barbel. These fish are not too far off spawning now and the males sport distinctive tubercles on the head at this time of the year.

I have recently succumbed to the particular charms of the carp on the Guadalhorce and, if the possibility presents itself, I prefer to target over the more numerous gypsies simply because they give such a great account of themselves on a fly rod. So, while Paul was doing battle with the barbel I wandered off to explore a stretch further downstream and, in the shallows off the main current, I came across a good dozen or so carp. Among them there were some pretty respectable fish and, for a while, I thought I had a good shot at a decent carp. But those stupid fish had other ideas and showed not the slightest interest in whatever I had to offer them.

I was close enough to these carp to make them out reasonably well. Some must have been nudging on six or seven pounds. They were pretty tightly packed together and often several fish were lying parallel like moored boats. I cast beyond the target fish and drew the nymph along the surface before dropping it in front of it.

But those fish would none of it and, while I was having palpitations,  those fat carp just lay there and treated even my best efforts with complete indifference. The would allow me to drop my nymph in front of their noses but couldn´t even be arsed to open their mouths! Bastards! In the end the carp begrudgingly moved off and I had to settle for a couple of consolation barbel to help take the sting out of my disappointment.

After our respective endeavours, Paul and I rejoined the ladies at our agreed rendezvous and I was delighted that Paul had enjoyed a very successful day and caught plenty of fish. Back at the cars we had a chat before we went our separate ways. Paul and Fiona fly off tonight and Shona is off to Scotland tomorrow morning. Paul was kind enough to give me a few of the little tungsten head nymphs he had been using and which the barbel found very much to their liking. I have taken a few pictures of these and will feature them in a separate post. And Fiona, for her part, was kind enough to give me three bottles of wine and I can attest to the quality of one of these as I am sipping it now between sentences!


Sometimes it´s easy to forget how cool we fly fishermen are!


From left to right we have Shona, Monsieur Reddish and his better half Fiona.


Here is Paul with the first of many barbel he had today, all taken on nymphs.


The tubercles on the head of the fish tell us that this one is a male. The tubercles can be seen close to spawning time.


Paul kindly gave me a few of his nymphs. Like mine they are tied on barbless hooks. Several of these were used today and they were very effective.